Friday, March 06, 2009

Wordy rappinghood

Toby Young (@toadmeister), who can be enormously funny, posted in his column in Spectator column, Status Anxiety, this week, a list of words that people really shouldn't use, and compiled his list using a shout-out to his Twitter followers. His column the week before was about Twitter and its supposed egalitariansim. One realizes how much we live in a box here, in Los Angeles, away from the raging U, Non-U debates that go on in England, or at least that used to go on in England about twenty five years ago, when I chose to leave. Somehow I'd imagined England to have evolved, that people didn't worry so much about those things any more, that you could use formerly "banned" words with a kind of winking, knowing irony, or just because you do. But apparently not. I am not exactly shocked, but a tiny bit disturbed that these are things that people still worry about in the UK. "When it comes to words," Toby Young writes, "we are all terrible snobs." Well, not really. I have to admit to referring to Jumby as "hubby" on Twitter because "my beloved" didn't seem to elicit the bemused smile it was supposed to. "Husband" is rather too long a word when you have a 140 character limit and Demi Moore (@mrskutcher) made the word seem so cute (aaargh, I hate that word!) From now on, however, he will be J or Jum. And I do agree with Young, that chillax is just dreadful, but only because it's what my teenage daughter says to me whenever I ask her to tidy her room. I still use loo and sofa, eat pudding not dessert but I do not refer to my chimney piece. I own fish knives from my great grandmother which I never use, drink tea but don't eat it, but now when I'm about to throw up I say that I'm Naw-zhus not sick.

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